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June 7, 2008


Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie talks to the Toronto Star about the band's success.

"Every so often, I catch the odd blog posting or review, and there's always someone saying, `I don't understand why this band is so big now.' And it's always so funny to me because, I think, we are the most surprised as to how big our band has gotten, more than anyone else could possibly be. Even the snarkiest hater blogger could never be more surprised at the success of the band than we are."

The Arizona Republic lists 6 websites that link older listeners to new music.

The New York Times examines Amazon's Listmania lists.

As the world’s biggest bookstore, Amazon could employ some people with clout to issue a literary canon, ex cathedra, but it has refrained. The Listmania lists are canons only to the people who make them. You read them not to be outraged by how biased and dictatorial they are but rather to be amused by how obsessive, enlightening, off the mark or convincing they can be.

The Lawrence Journal-World examines the efforts to keep the Wakarusa music festival ecologically friendly.

At Slate, Jody Rosen recommends soccer websites and books to read during the 2008 European championships.

In the New York Times, Hari Kunzru reviews Nam Le's debut short fiction collection The Boat.

The Boat” is transparently a product of the increasingly formalized milieu in which American writers train — a well-wrought collection that, in its acute self-consciousness, trails a telltale whiff of “the industry” that is its initial concern, of the “heap of fellowship and job applications” the fictional Le needs “to draft and submit” when he’s interrupted by his father. “Ethnic lit” is unhappily what emerges when identity politics head into the marketing meeting, and for any writer with a non-WASP name, it’s all too easy to feel one is being pimped for one’s “background and life experience” (real or imaginary), and somehow colluding in the production of a crude, essentialized version of oneself in return for an advantage over ethnically uninteresting peers. Le is starting to grapple with the subtleties of authenticity, but one comes away feeling that it’s not really his subject, that he has a future as a very different kind of writer.

Jezebel asks, "Who is the Liz Phair of the new generation?"

The Gauntlet lists the top 10 female-fronted metal bands.

Tom McCarthy's excellent novel Remainder has won the 2008 Believer Book Award.

In the Guardian, Julian Barnes explains his adoration for Ford Madox Ford's novel The Good Soldier.

Newsweek glowingly reviews my favorite novel of the year so far, Joseph O'Neill's Netherland.

In the Guardian, author Haruki Murakami shares his love of marathons.

Billboard examines the trend of UK music magazines entering the radio market.

At NPR's All Things Considered author Ursula LeGuin recommends Boris Pasternak's Doctor Zhivago as a "book you should read."

Only now do I realize how much I learned about writing a novel from Pasternak — the way a writer can leap across miles and years, so long as you land in the right place; the way accuracy of detail embodies emotion; the way that leaving more out allows you to get more in.

Drowned in Sound interviews Steve Turner of Mudhoney.

NPR's Tiny Desk Concerts features an intimate performance by Vic Chesnutt.

also at Largehearted Boy:

2007 online music lists
Daily Downloads
Try It Before You Buy It (mp3s and full album streams from this week's CD releases)
this week's CD releases


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